November 30, 2014 § Leave a comment
though each project is designed to incorporate new skills and so new problems to solve, it’s the same old
fundamental things that keep surprising me:
like how hard it is to tell someone, in a word, or twenty-five words, or the famous elevator pitch 30 seconds what a book is
about, even when it is finished, which is not to say one doesn’t know what it’s about while working on it, or that I didn’t have a certain underlying sense of what I was setting out to explore and intending to say, it just means it’s most often a treacherous path from beginnings and overstatement to endings and finding just the right balance of heft and substance & slight of hand and nuanced magic; you know, the art of it
and of course then how hard it is to title a work, which again doesn’t mean there isn’t a title right from the start, it just means finding the one that sets a tone, that stays the course, that supports and comforts is exquisitely important, so
it was fantastically pleasing, and not just a little elegant, the last time someone asked what my book was about to, finally and simply, say, “Cross purposes!”
and that old thing about no matter how many mockups and dummies you work, it’s not until you go ‘live’ and for keeps that the decisions you make (or have to make again) take a meaningful shape, the rest is only preamble and ambling and certainly helpful but not the real deal
so, the first set of covers I printed (after of course dithering for days and countless possibilities), were perfect but not right, not the right color even though I thought it was, and not the right configuration, turns out I wanted flaps, and then wasn’t it just so sweet that having flaps allowed me to print the colophon on the flap, and that as magic would have it the flap recapitulated the flapp that the book is, not to mention that since the spine of books which have coptic bindings is wider than the body of the book, the flap added some needed dimension at the front of the book
and arithmetic and rulers are your friends: if each hole is 1/2 inch from the edge and the thread covers the distance on both sides of the page; and the loop around is let’s say 1/2 of an inch; and you need 2 inches on either end; and another 2 inches for the needle; and there are 22 pages; how much thread do you need?
one of those really obvious things that I completely missed until the middle of another sleepless night after many mockups and dummies not to mention the fact, but at least I wouldn’t need to get so tangled in thread for the next four books.
and for the moment, last but not least: each time something seemingly goes quite wrong, it’s not quite right, or it’s at cross purposes to conceptualize it that way; a story for another day